Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Well-Cascade is over (and boy is it).  I am not really sure what is going on, but my inner strength seems to be laying on the trail at San Diego or something.  When I read back to my last post, I am wondering who wrote that---Either some type of metamorphisis occured at San Diego, or my folks canceling their trip to come to the race (which sounds like no big deal, but I so wanted them to see our magnificent culture and I was SO crushed when they couldn't come), or the fact that deep down I wanted so much for this to be JOE'S day (as it was his 5th Cascade Crest in a row!)... I don't know what it was, but NOTHING about finishing White River or Cascade Crest while I was out there excited me...  Silly to even start huh?  There is nothing about a 100 miler that you belong doing if you don't have the desire to finish....  So, I started anyway???.... 
The first 11 miles went by pretty quick, but I had already resorted to the ipod by mile 6, I was "bored".  By the time I got to 23 I was already playing games with myself to keep going...  Running comfortably physically about 15 minutes ahead of last year at 23, Monica told me to slow down as my entire goal was to not do another San Diego.  (Dispite what I said about feeling normal a week later, it went downhill from there... I was messed up physically for a month for some reason-no equilibrium, only wanted to sleep, I was hormonal like a chick too!  YUK!)  Anyway, I do remember enjoying the section around Tacoma Pass on the PCT, and was excited to see Heather Anderson out there.  I have no idea how she has the toughness to stay out there for 2-3 months like that, but I have so much respect for that deep love and peace with the trails!  Between 23 and 33, I couldn't calm the rats down in my head-"why are you doing this if you don't want to?" "you are leading, you should be happy" "you will feel so good when it's all over" "I am hating it out here, and that pisses me off" "you feel fine, what the f%^k are you having all of these negative thoughts for" "you are such a pu#$y!" "so much for tough" "just keep going it will get better" "it's not getting better" "am I to the next aid yet?" "God these miles are not going by!" "how am I going to do 67 more of these" "I am not having fun" and so on...  While these thoughts are normal in ultrarunning, they were so Intense this day....  Got to 33 and told Monica "I don't want to be out here..." I was almost in tears (HOW LAME!)...  So I took off my bib and did the one thing I love-helped EVERYBODY while waiting for Joe....  When I saw him it lifted my spirits and I had fun crewing him the rest of the day/night.  Got to present the surprise of Taryn coming with the dogs to run him accross the line, so that was AWESOME!  Got to witness his dad being at the finish  I am so proud of him...  He had a crowd around him as so many people are proud like me of such a wonderful guy with a HUGE HEART!  So, still smiling from his victory and not aware of the emotion to come, I drove us home, grabbed our traditional Whole Foods salads and then the regret began....  I see him sore, exhausted, proud and I am dying to have that!  Silly huh?  Yes, I could've won the race, but that doesn't matter either, I want the feeling of spent (but staying out there running wasn't working...)  I AM LOST!  I cannot figure out my thoughts!  Sure not good at this stuff.  Work hard, be tough, it all pays off.  What do you do with yourself if you don't feel like working hard?  Where does that satisfaction come from then?  All I can say now is time will tell.....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

100 Milers

100 Milers-Should I?---OK---Maybe

Hundred in the Hood 100 Mile Endurance Run

Swan Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run

Shawna Tompkins Cascade Crest Endurance Run
Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run

Shawna Tompkins-Badger Mountain 100 Mile Run

Badger Mountain 100 Mile Endurance Run

San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run

 Never in my life have I had something that grabs a hold of me like a 100 mile race.  While we are INSANE to attempt such a feat, ultrarunners flock to the opportunity!  Why?  What is the true reason we put our bodies through such trauma?  Why do we insist on punishing our systems for 16+ hours (for elites) and 18+ hours for me?  Will we ever be truly satisfied with other accomplishments?  Will we have to do this forever to ride the wave of Zen we achieve after finishing one?  I ponder these questions while on the trail during a race (with as much thought as I can muster-which is limited as the race goes on.)

I write this a week after the San Diego 100, 2012-which I quit last year.  Emphatically quit no less.  My husband, Joseph Tompkins and I were talking about posting on my blog, so it was in my head, and here I am typing. 

My first 100 miler was in 09 at the Hood 100.  When I was done, I SWORE up and down, never again!  And meant it!  Why would anyone put themselves willingly through THAT?  But, as usual, my optimistic, level headed husband was praising the 100 miler-talking about how much satisfaction it brings and squaking about how he can't wait for Cascade Crest in 2010, and how he hoped to do another one that year.  Along came Swan Crest.  Just a tad different race than Hood-Drastic Understatement. Swan Crest came during an exceptionally bad time in my life and health.  I wasn't ready for anything like this, not even close.  The course was stacked with avalanche sections, marking was scarce, terrain was TOUGH and I was not mentally ready.  Not to mention, Joe, Alvin and I decided to run as a trio for 100 miles.  THAT DOESN'T WORK-Lesson Learned!  AND, if you catch up with someone who is crying the blues, leave them ASAP before they infect you!  Lesson Learned!  Needless to say, Joseph Tompkins, Alvin Crain (who got super sick) and I quit.  Kudos to anyone who finished that one!  My next attempt was to be Pine to Palm, but with the chronic insomnia I had, I was convinced I was to stop running and drop my cortisol levels to I asked to get into Cascade Crest at the last minute and somehow there was a spot for me.  AWESOME, now I could run a 100 and snuff the demons in my head from quitting one.  Cascade was my proof and then NEVER again, I said.  Turns out, even though Cascade was harder, it worked ok for me, the climbing, the descending, the sun, the people, the 10:00am start (helped me sleep a bit more).  I still said I would never do another one.  So I signed up for San Diego-I know-we've all done it.  On to June 2011 and on to Joe's best 100 ever!  I was more excited for him than for me going into it, and it SHOWED.  I ran Sun Mountain 50 mile to prepare, and instead of tapering 3 weeks before, I ran Sun Mountain HARD, winning it in 6:50.  OOPS!  After running good, but not mentally in it and feeling "physically" fine at San Diego, I plopped my butt in a chair at 72 and there I stayed.  Mentally could  not go one more mile.  Even now, believe it or not, I agree with my decision.  I had more important challenges to work on mentally, and the strife I felt since helped me turn my business life around.  I am afraid the satisfaction would have carried to long and I wouldn't have dug deep and regained my business success.  Yes, the 100 is that powerful.  Not to mention, Cascade Crest 11 wouldn't have gone like it did.  Now for Cascade 2011.  To prepare, I signed up for White River 50 mile and had the best time there, and the best race!  I pushed, and it worked!  (since I never seem to train as hard as I race, it's usually a crapshoot.)  In trying to mentally redeem myself I planned my race so perfectly in that I had the two BEST pacers for that race I could have.  I asked Monica Ochs (the fastest walker I know) to help me on the roads coming out of Hyak and Alvin Crain (the guy who won't put up with my shit, and who loves the Trail From Hell) to pace from the onset of it to the end.  There was never an issue-NONE-yes, I was tired, but we pushed on, constantly.  We saw Thorpe in the dark, and saw the sunrise on the last couple needles.  It was really cool.  Tied the course record (didn't know what it was) and got to hang out after in the sun with a ton of really cool friends!  GREAT DAY.  But the 100 miler still kicked my butt mentally.  Not really in love yet.  Joe had signed up for Badger Mountain 100 and my entire plan was to go and run the 50k and help him out.  (I didn't even notice the 50k was on Saturday, and the 100 mile started Friday-typical me).  All I had heard was that Badger was not well marked, hard to follow, but a cool race.  About 2 weeks before Badger, I got a spontaneous burr up my butt and entered... WHAT?  We had turned our business around and the insomnia was gone, life was good, my shoulders were down, I am married to the most wonderful man on the planet, I have great friends, a new relationship with my Sister after 40 years that I love and 2 parents that I love and respect like nobody's business, so life for me is so good today that I felt content to try a 100 with my new outlook on life.  I could write for days about Badger, let's just say that the race itself was poorly marked, the volunteers were awesome, the weather was horrific for the first 30 miles, and I got lost at the end for 5 miles AFTER mile 96 in a neighborhood looking for the finish until finally I rang a guys doorbell to find the finish.  Upon coming to the finish, the camera man came up to me and scared the shit out of me... I proceeded to ask him where the finish was and he spun me around, tilted my head back and had me look up to the finish banner above me....  What can I say, I was dilerious and mentally done from never feeling so lost in my life in a neighborhood at 3 am...  Isn't there anybody awake???  Anyway, all in all, it was GREAT!  I loved it.  I discovered Under Armour Heat Gear for shitty weather, no blisters, as normal with Drymax Socks (my new and only sponsor)!  Joe had a great race also, so we had a house full of satisfaction...  We had already registered for the SD100 and made reservations to that was next.  Relaxed going into SD100, and not heat training AT ALL, we rolled down to SD, had a killer time with family and started the race COMFORTABLY under course record!  This is where calories and heat training come in.  I ate a few pieces of fruit and a bite of a PB&J all morning, and was on Ensure only by 44.1.  Fading already, I picked up Joe (my husband was going to pace me!  This was so exciting for me!  I respect him SO MUCH and I couldn't wait for 65!) and we proceeded to speedwalk most of the last 30.  I bonked SO bad!  After, my system was so messed up, it void all of it's contents on the side of Sunrise hwy (how?  there was nothing there!)...  LESSON----Heat train for heat!  Afterwords, we caught the plane home that day and it is just now, 1 week later that I feel normal!  Amazing what the 100 can do....  But, did I mention I feel that satisfaction like NO OTHER!  See you all at Cascade Crest 100!  And this time my parents are finally coming to see an ultra!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

December 17, 2010
Ready to leave for the journey we have waited for since May, we anxiously enjoyed cup of coffee and a smile only hidden by the fact we had a ton to do before we could say we were packed and ready. House to clean, wash to do, pets to secure (no thanks to Ty) and a haircut to get. Coming home, I noticed that Joe was coming down with a cold, NOT TO HAPPEN! So we fed him some Airborne, and continued with our packing… The whole process was so exciting for me. I am sick of the dependence on things! I just wanted to GO, really go… where things are only of necessity.
Signed off to the world and within a matter of 2 hours, we were in bed and ready to call it our last night at home.
Good night.
December 18, 2010
5:30am came quickly, and we were up, coffee in hand, ready to start the day. Taryn drove us to the airport willingly and we were on our way to LA. Seattle for a change of planes, some food and a Scrabble game purchase…. (I had some Scrabble Asskicking to do!) Now Seattle to LA. LA was pouring, but warm…. 62 degrees. We walked to the pier in Santa Monica. The end of route 66 in fact. Then a wonderful dinner with Yolanda and Nancy. It was so good to see her smile and tell her when Joe departed to the bathroom just how happy her son makes me… A mom needs
to hear that. We called Jonathan and off to a meeting we went with he and Mandy. What an interesting meeting, over 200 people, very wealthy and a different lifestyle than I am used to. Tired when the meeting ended we drove to the beautiful beach house where Jonathan now lives and works. It was interesting to see his new life. Somebody else’s world he now works and resides in. Not a piece of his own furniture. Very impersonal for him. But he is trying with all of his might to make it work. Right on the beach with the waves crashing up on the deck and the pouring rain, we quickly were closing our eyes during pleasant conversation and off to bed we went. We were provided with an amazingly comfortable bed. I now had the chance to have my husband to myself and we shared a wonderful night and a great night sleep.
Good night.
December 19, 2010 5.5 miles
TIME FOR A RUN! (5.5 miles) We woke up eager to stride out after a day
off. Coffee was made and within about 20 minutes we were striding along
the PCH in the 60 degree weather, although wet and cloudy. The beach was
right beside us and we were enjoying the movement, knowing it would be
about our last for a while today! A long flight ahead… Telling Jonathan
goodbye and getting a photo or two, we headed for LAX. The international
gate was so different from how I saw it just 2 years ago.
I NEVER thought I would be in this gate to fly out of! WOW, it hit me.
We met some fellow Andes Adventure travelers at the gate, people watched at
the others, and took in the vibe of the trip. We managed to get seats
together, and boarded for an 11 hour flight. It is now 10pm I think and we
have been in the air for about 4.5 hours. All in all, the flight wasn’t so bad.
Very long, and I feel like a balloon I am swollen up from sitting, but not
horrific. Plenty to do. We slept about 2 hours on the flight from Lima to
Santiago. It’s amazing to see just how far we are from home.
December 20, 2010 4 miles
Upon arriving at Santiago, it was customs for my first time. Long lines for the reciprocity fee that we have to pay upon entering Chile. They say it is valid for the life of our passport. Our first smell of Chilean air! Wow, about 70 and sunny, but they say that Punta Arenas is cold… Oh well. Now we wait 3 hours to fly South. Coffee! And it is The International Arrival/Departure board with a flight on it that I was about to board for my long awaited honeymoon!
Looking forward to what the day has in store. Onto the next plane after a prayer and a Starbucks. A couple games of Scrabble and 5 more hours of flying, with only 2.5 hours of sleep and we were in our final destination for the major flights. Punta Arenas here we are.
We took a bus to the hotel and after a little alone time um, hmm… off to explore on foot. We saw a brand new boardwalk/promenade, and ran on the beach for about 4 miles. The sun
even came out just for us. My husband and I are sharing a different country together! Dinner
was fantastic! What a spread…
We met Allen and Chris, nice people. Then off to a walk around town, a grocery store and a local beer to take home. What a day! It’s 9:30 and still light, sunny in fact.
Good night.
December 21, 2010
Sitting in the restaurant in the refugo waiting to eat dinner. What a great day. Started with a bus ride to a penguin colony. What an amazing sight. Penguins in their element! Windy and chilly but so full of excitement. We must have seen 200 penguins. Shot pictures of many of them just being themselves. Nothing like a zoo! Bus ride to lunch… We went to a lace with amazing food and they served us f’in fish! Needless to say, no lunch. Coffee, a cliff bar and back on the bus. Soon we will hit Torres del Paine. We got to a store and bought some pants for way too much money and onto the park. We saw guanacos, condors, the ostrich breed that runs wild, and
relentless wind like I have never seen before. When we arrived at the park, we
switched to small busses and we soon learned why! We had MAYBE one inch
to spare as we crossed the park bridge, maybe.
The towers that sat before us were coming closer as we arrived to the refugo,
now we see our home for the two days. BUNK BEDS, how appropriate,
considering our first night we spent “together” but not “together” was in Orcas
on bunk beds. We changed the bunk bed theory however and slept on one together. Took a sleeping pill to go to sleep as we hadn’t done anything that day to tire me out. Slept well… Good night

December 22, 2010 (11.036 miles) this is short by about 2 miles see map
Joe woke up at 5:30 and headed out. The day had begun. I am still a little weary from the pill, but activity will wake
me up… ONTO the day! We started out with a walk to the meeting point where we would start our journey. We
seemed to walk forever. When we reached our point, there were a few instructions and we started out slowly uphill
towards what we knew was going to be a just reward. A couple miles in the
sleeping pill was gone and I felt GREAT! Little bits of forest, rocks, and single
track trail gave us the needed energy release we were so looking for. I can’t tell
you how much I love being out here, just my husband and I. Having
surrounded ourselves with others that enjoy what we do is great, but the serene
surroundings are what I am here for. We reached the sign where Devy told us
to go left, and wondered what was straight, but the Torres were calling.
After a climb we reached the top to be rewarded with the most majestic rock
formation I have ever seen. 3 towers that stand tall and proud before you. Below
is a beautiful lake that just gives the massif something more…as if it needed it.
Pictures for everybody! We met others at the top who were just as amazed as
us. Ok, too many people, I am outta here! Down we went and this time we took the left to go on the trail less traveled.
And that it was. Reaching the end we found a shelter built to last. The
trail gave us forests of beech trees, rocks, roots, moraines, a river to run by,
waterfalls, and a panoramic view of the mountains that surround. After
convincing my husband that it WAS our honeymoon after all, we took a
detour. Left for the memories…. A fantastic couple mile downhill and we
were back… The refugo was open with the smell of lunch (just in time)
and the chance to grab a cup of coffee and sit right here by a warm fire
with a cup. Of course I made the room warm and everybody has noticed,
so therefore, they want to chat…. SHUTUP already! Can’t people just sit
and enjoy the peace and quiet? Sheesh! Next a briefing and time to get
our stuff ready for the 3 day journey without amenities. We pack
everything from here on that we need for 18.5 miles, 20 miles and 9.5
miles and 3 nights in refugos without our big packs.. love it!
Now to sleep again with my husband in a bunk bed built for a sixth
grader. He was unable to sleep as he filled himself with Starbucks
VIA all day. I admit, however, I was out. I never thought it would be
possible to be in a room with others, noises, 1 foot of bed to sleep on,
wrong temp, no pillow, and sleep again like a normal human. If I
could explain how much that means to me, I would, but for now, I will
just enjoy the thought. I am finally getting back to normal. Thank you

December 23rd, 2010 (17.36 miles)
And head out we did… We were the last ones out of the refugo this time,
everyone was waiting for us. A
slight hoot and we were all off.
Traveling through some double
track and a bit of single track horse
trails heading to the right of the
refugo and around the towers in a
BIG WAY. Prairies, streams, flora,
large rivers and mostly flat terrain
carried us about 8 miles to the “aid
station”. A small hut in the middle
So amazing! Ahead is the glacier!
of nowhere housed a man and some chicken and cheese sandwiches, juice, bitchin granola bars, water, coffee, you
name it. The whole place was about 20’ x 20’. A bathroom break and we were off. Now into more meadows, then some
up and down and finally some wetlands before heading up to the top of the hill where we would spot our first sighting
of a glacier and the Refugo Grey. A small maybe 2000’ square foot building with 6-7 rooms, a kitchen, a common
area, eating area, a fire place, bathroom with freezing cold shower (1) and more bunk beds… not coed this time… not
happy. The weather had turned so we were all inside (very crowded). In the Refugos, anyone is allowed in to get out
of the weather and each night, dinner is served at 7 or 8 and you may purchase dinner (pre order the night before
from anywhere in the park) and sit down and have an amazing meal. Full course, juice, soup, main course and
dessert. Nothing skimpy either. Tonight was chicken. Dark meat with skin and all, and I must admit, it was good.
We had washed our clothes that we were wearing and they were hanging outside in the wind to dry. COLD out now.
We were now under the impression that the day was coming our way, the epic day we had heard so much about. The
fire was goin! My room was directly above it (my bed to be exact was directly above it and the noise of some courting
and yaking, but, oh well, can’t bitch we are on vacation, so a little push to go to sleep and onto tomorrow).
December 24th, 2010 (19.2 miles)Christmas Eve and we awake in Patagonia!
The day started early and we were set out to experience the elements. I had purchased some pants for way too much
money in Porto Natales after the cold Penguin exhibit that I thought I just may need today. We were just having
such a great time, skippin and runnin along just hoping nature would bring the elements. We knew we were headed
for Gardner pass which was supposed to be the extreme. The weather was worsening as we ran through a very unique
forest and across many bridges, rock moraines, and through streams. We were treated to the Monkey Section as it
was named that because you had to use anything that stuck out to swing from
to hop the water and mud around you. We were given a box lunch (mind you, it
was enough to feed 3 people), but after day one, and the 15 pound pack, we both
declined the sandwich and just took bars and
other snacks. Running with a heavy pack is
a new one for me. Today, however, I felt
light as a feather. When we reached the
rocky moraine just before the pass, the
weather really started to show what it had,
and we thought maybe this was gonna be it.
We began to climb in the wind and rain amongst hikers who were carrying their
houses on their back. I swear one guy had the kitchen sink and the bathroom with
They looked so uncomfortable. Here we were, shorts, t-shirts, sleeves and gloves running by them as they climbed up
with trekking poles like slugs (no thank you!). We scampered up the pass through snow, rocks, and ice.
Some that would give way as we stepped down up to your knees. We used the footprints from
the hikers to make the trek faster. When we reached the top we were treated to serious wind
(VERY COLD), sleet all to try to hide the mystique of the 4 mile glacier in front of us. It
didn’t work… Dropped down about 100’ and the cold wind was blocked and we were able to
take in the beginning of the glacier view.
Describing what was in front of us is really
not possible without pictures. We dropped
down, back into the forest and were given
sneak peeks of the massive ice mass below as we crossed rivers running
towards it.
There were photo ops every ¼ mile. Soon, the ladders. Giant steel
ladders built to climb out of the ravines that the water had created
melting off of the mountains headed toward the water. We ran along
the glacier to it’s end where sat our Refugo. Very large place with our
own room at the end and a warm shower… AHHHH. We showered and
had some coffee, lunch (mind you, not just a lame lunch, but a hot roast beef and melted cheese sandwich). We sat
by the fire and ate lunch and then perused the exterior down by the water while the weather was sunny. (oh and of
course, windy). People started to roll in slowly to join us.
Devy said we would finish at 2ish, and we did. The others rolled in within the next 3 hours. Our weather was way
better at the end then theirs. This time, our wash was done in the shower and now drying by the fire. Devy soon
asked for a piece of floating Glacier for their Christmas Eve Scotch Toast. So out we went. I found a piece of floating
ice from the Glacier in the water about 3’ long and brought it in, all the while knowing it was a little early, but he has
his shit together, so I figured he had a plan. He smiled and asked me what I was going to do with that? Out it went…
I tried to store it in a tire in the cold water, but surprisingly, the water wasn’t that cold. It melted in a matter of an
hour. We went in for a while and read, talked and played cards while waiting for dinner. Okay, now he wanted the
ice for the Scotch. So back out we went. This time, nothing floating anywhere close to the shore. I found a BIG piece
and went in after it. Up to my thighs, OKAY, it’s COLD! Shoes now soaked (tomorrows shoes mind you) and I had
to coax the ice to the shore to break a piece off that was small enough to carry. So Joe decided to throw a rock to break
the piece off. The problem with that theory was I was right next to it. He MISSED. Shit that it cold! I was soaked!
We eventually got a 1’ x 1’ piece to bring inside for the XMAS toast. They all toasted and proceeded to get rowdy. We
sat right next to the fire all the while making them disappear! Dinner for XMAS was Fillet Mignon wrapped in
BACON! Wow! All of us were tired, some just wanted to drink A LOT to close the day. We went to bed, celebrated
XMAS on a Bunk Bed and out we went.
December 25th, 2010 (21.762 miles)
XMAS day started with a card that Joe had packed in his bag to give to me on Christmas. So beautiful. I love this
man. He is so good to me. I woke up really missing my parents. This is our first XMAS apart.
We said a prayer and down to breakfast we went. Today was the run to Cuernos. We had NO idea what was coming!
We strolled through rolling hills and along a lake with the glacier behind us.
Majestic is the word I would use, but it doesn’t cover it. The run was only 11 miles
today, and we wanted to make it longer so up the French Valley we went. My
feet were not doing so well today, and it was a bit of a struggle to climb up. I couldn’t
get out of myself for a while, and I wasn’t liking it. The climb was hard with large
and small rocks with no ground in between. However, we were able to ditch the
packs and climb up in the sun. It was about 60 degrees today, but still windy.
We reached a flat section with the massive snowy massif on the left and Los
Cuernos on the right. (the horns) The massive park surrounds the towers (Torres del
Paine and Los Cuernos). Not a cloud in the sky and the most perfect photo ops yet.
After reaching the next open section, I was getting grumpy as my feet REALLY hurt,
and it was pissing me off. Here it was XMAS, sunny, with my husband, running, climbing, (did I mention
sunny) and I was being a little grump… We found some hikers to take a picture and on to camp Britannica. HUGE
flowing river, a beach, and some really pristine surroundings allowed for a nap on the shore. What a relief. My tired
mind and body was so thankful. Changed my spirit a bunch. Although still hurting, I was able to cut the crap and
have fun. Some water and off we went. I have eaten more on this trip than ever. I was already starving and I had
just eaten a bunch of running snacks coming up, but a really killer granola bar awaited. As we started down, we
heard what we thought was thunder. NOPE, we found out later, I was an avalanche. The mountains to our right gave
way as they would about every 3-4 hours that night. AMAZING. Too bad we didn’t see it. The decent was tough on
the feet, but we had fun rolling down it. Joe was kind enough to let me lead as
he knows I roll better at my own speed. Upon reaching the bottom, we ate,
put on our packs, oooph, these are heavy. Getting warmer now, and
ankle getting sorer, but attitude way better. Slightly rolling terrain with
lots of rocks, but very fun. All of a sudden turquoise waters and soon, a
beach! Yes, a beach. These turquoise waters were fed by a glacier, but who cars,
immma goin in. I was in full body and out in a matter of seconds. Joe went
in also, and beings that he’s tougher than I am, he was able to stay in for two
dunks…. We then laid on the beach in the 70 degree sun. We could see the Refugo up ahead, but we had no idea what
we were in for. When we rolled up, an amazing lunch was awaiting. Stuffed chicken with sausage and peppers,
salad, bread…
We ate right away and then found Devy only to be surprised with the location of our
room (cabin). It was pearched on the top of the hill staring at the water and the
backside of the horns! WOW! Unreal.. A king bed was built out of two twins
with white sheets and huge pillows. We made use of it and then sat outside and
took in the sun. A sunburn on Christmas! HOORAY! Dinner tonight was pork
with rice. It was perfect. I have now eaten everything that was put in front of me
for days! It was light until 11 when we finally drifted off in each other’s arms.
December 26th, 2010 (6.82 miles)
Early 5:30 am start for a 6 am run to the final destination of Las Torres Refugo. Our home (or the place where our
stuff is)… We ran hard to finish the journey in about 65 degree weather with rolling terrain. We rolled in about
7:45am to shower, finally shave my legs!, and eat breakfast. Without going into detail, we just packed for 4 days
with a pack about 1’ by 8” by maybe 4” deep with everything we were going to need not having a clue if we were right,
and we nailed it. We wore everything, ate all we brought, and came back with all but Joe’s sunglasses. OOPS. The
busses were waiting at 11 to take us to Argentina. Devy brought bagged lunches (huge pork sandwiches left over
from the night before (they waste NOTHING) and other munchies. The bus took us
to the border, we did the immigration thing in both Chille and Argentina and switched
busses as one cannot cross into the other country without a license. I am sure those are
much more $ for Devy. As I write this, it is 2:30 and we are 2 hours from our destination in
El Calafate and the promise of a BIG STEAK dinner in Argentina which we all know
they are famous for. (miles in park- 74.028) days may be off, but total is right. And
a steak dinner it was. Served as only done in Argentina. We sat in a table of 6 and had
a PILE of meat all kinds (chicken, steak, lamb, and some other mystery meat) served up in
the center to grab from caveman style. Large lambs splayed out by the wood fire for
cooking was the show of all restaurants who wanted patrons. Tourist
central it was. Everyplace was packed with people of all nationalities, races
and colors.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel… Everything here is growing. There are old dilapidated buildings that look
like Tihuana and then by total contrast, there are brand new structures like hotels and
large homes. The economy here is tourism and estansias (ranches) of thousands of acres.
Joe had contracted a bit of a cold, so we turned in early after looking at the pictures
as I loaded them onto the computer. Tomorrow an am run of just a few miles to wake up
and on to Peurto Morrano Glacier.
December 27, 2010 (3 miles)
Joe sounded way worse this am so as I figured a quick run would do him good.
We set out onto the gravel road into the hotel in the 65 degree sunshine with
wind blowing about 35mph. Now showered and coffee/breakfast we were on the
bus for the park. We now had a lady German guide who spoke broken
English and ended every sentence with “yes”.
We drove into the park on a narrow two lane road and soon, the mammoth
Glacier appeared. We stopped to take pictures (like real tourists with busses and
stuff that we always made fun of!) and then headed to the point
where we would walk out to see the Glacier on foot. A gorgeous galvanized I-beam walkway with stained wooden
handrails took us around in front of, on top of (almost literally) and beside the bottom of the Glacier while pieces
melted off that sounded like thunder. Amazingly, this is the only Glacier in the world that is not receding. Even
more mammoth looking than the one 2 days ago as we had a different vantage point. The falling ice structures
sounded like thunder each time and everyone would turn to quickly snap a photo of a piece falling. They would even
fall and bob up and down like a buoy. We spent 2 hours there, and I was feeling really shitty, hopefully my body
was fighting this bug and not getting it, but ooph. Now to town for
lunch and shopping. The tourism hit me again. Tons of people
visiting a place I never knew existed.
El Calafate, Argentina. We had authentic Argentinan pizza.
VERY good. Not sauced up like America, just good quality
ingredients and great thin crust. Real pepperoni and quality
cheese. Yes, this is an eating adventure too! I have never eaten
so often in a day…. Every time, though, is worth it. We had about
an hour to shop in town, and get some ice cream (that we were
denied the night before as we went straight back to the hotel. We
boarded the bus at about 4 and now are headed to the National Park
for 3 days to run around the trails near Mount Fitz Roy. We
stopped in La Leona for a picture and we both seem to be feeling better. We will be staying in El Chaten at the same
hotel for a few days now.
Okay, well I thought we were better. Turns out, I got the stomach parasite, and Joe got a nasty cold. We had dinner
in the hotel and then to bed with an antibiotic and a Nyquil. Some honeymoon nite! Thank gosh we had energy
when we got to the hotel! (if ya know what I mean) Good night
December 28th, 2010 (14 miles)
Today we rolled up and early… Feeling under the weather, but ready to go see! We ran to Mount Fitz Roy this am in
perfect weather. No shirt by 30’ out of the trailhead and ready to get some SUN! The
trails were very nice without quite so many rocks and we were cruising until…. OUCH, I
heard Joe yell and I knew we had lost an ankle…
I quickly sped up a touch to give him some breathing/swearing room, and I knew from
the quiet, that it HURT. It quickly swelled, but we kept going up to the top where we
encountered the beautiful mountain, a pristine lake and the warm sun. It was still
windy, so we weren’t hanging out too long, but plenty long enough to make the short,
tough climb worth it. We procured some awesome rocks to bring home, reds, golds, greys
and blues all in the same smooth rock. We toted them back and will keep them as
memories. Down the climb, and down the trail full of stairs back into town we ran. A
shower, a soda and then out to meander in the town… very small town with a unique vibe.
Peaceful, yet full of hikers, wanderers and people who managed little shops here and there.
You could cover it all in about 2 hours. We found places to revisit, our ice cream for the
evening, etc. Joe found out where the meeting was going to be for Thursday and we
returned to hang out until dinner. I was feeling about 80% now as the drugs worked,
but Joe was not coming out of it. Not one to complain, he wandered about with a black
and blue ankle and never once bitched. We went to dinner, had a great steak and some ice
cream and off to bed.
Good night
December 29th, 2010 (14 miles)
When we awoke, I knew Joe was still off… He quickly told me that he would be staying home today and I knew it
would KILL him, but he is tougher than I am.. he can do the right thing even knowing there was fun to be had. Oh
my, what a wonderful weather day too. It was so hard to leave him behind when I knew he wanted to be out there. I
rolled alone through the trails, by rivers, through rocky terrain, and up to the highest point I could. I could’ve easily
ran down onto the glacier, but chose not to. Not only was it not allowed but shortly thereafter, there was a small
avalanche that may have left me stranded come to find out. I ran pretty hard for how my foot was feeling and just
stayed within myself. It was good to be alone for about 1 hour of the 3 and then I wanted to be out here with my
husband so bad, that went away. This is our time and he is behind missing out… didn’t like that. The mountains
were standing tall, and I refused to bring the camera as it would only further instill pain in missing out for him.
So I was back by 11:30 and he had just woke up. Poor guy! We went into town to get food and meet the guy in
charge of the meeting. I waited as long as I could without eating and then ventured into the pizza place as I was
REALLY hungry. Joe showed up and we had some great pizza… He had met a wonderful man in El Chaten. Totally
different deal, and the man engaged him, really putting life back in the lifeless eyes he had an hour ago. So good to
see. The meeting is tomorrow, and I am VERY excited for him. Back to the hotel we went. He kicked my butt in
scrabble at least 3 times and we went to dinner. Great steak dinner again! We have a couple of couples that we talk
with as most of the others just want to party. Not our style. I will say, the booze flies here. Devy is always out with
the wine immediately and everyone partakes! Anyway, we chatted with them during dinner and then went and got
a few t-shirts, etc. I have a serious sunburn! In a great way. My nose looks like Rudolf and my skin feels so good
and warm! How cool is it to run in 80 degree weather, no wind and see the mountains standing tall without a single
cloud. Plus roll another 14 miles 2nd day in a row. I know I will feel tomorrows run. Supposed to be 26! Ooooph,
BRING IT! Now time for ice cream and to bed we go.
Good night. Tomorrow is our last day here. We will run with Abilardo.
December 30, 2010 (19 miles)
8:30 start- We are up at 6:00 ready to go. Joe’s ankle is way better as he
did the right thing yesterday and iced, Adviled and rested. So
smart. So no tape, a 600 mil ibuprophen and we are off. Albilardo took
off with a vengeance up the hill…. Wow, my legs were about to explode!
We reached the top in a matter of 50 minutes, we were haulin.
Ok, lets slow down now… weew! A quick view of the now cloud
covered mountains and
down we went. We reached the
turn and went onto the new
trail I hadn’t seen. It’s like I
know the two national parks
we have visited better than some
of the trails at home now! Funny how that works. Still sunny and warm
although the clouds didn’t allow them mountains to stand tall like
No shirt again on December 30th! YES. More sun on my skin.
Back the hotel about 12:30, we showered, went and dropped off laundry,
got coffee and some bitchin shortbread cookies and went back for lunch.
Lentil, meat, and potato soup, yum! We are eating like royalty! Some
more scrabble and soon it was 5:30 and time for Joe to leave for his
I walked down there with him, and rolled through town finding another
shirt and then headed back for dinner. We ate some awesome spinach
cannaloni and then Devy had a surprise for us. This man rolled in with
a big DJ box and a computer, hmmm. We had the room directly next door,
so I was thinking, damn, we will be up all night as they will dance and
party all night right next to us… YUK. Boy was I wrong. Soon, this
man who walked smoothly I noticed as in front of the room Tangoing
with a beautiful lady. So cool to watch! He spoke beautifully and they were very sensual together without even the
slightest bit of seductive contact! Love it. Next, a time I won’t forget. They were there to teach us all to TANGO! All
25 of us were going to learn, like it or not to loosen up and walk with flair and dance together with some rhythm. A
bunch of stiff runners trying to walk with one shoulder forward and the other leg back.. try it… it’s tough. Then he
told us to grab our partner and dance! So I faced Joe, he took me in his arms and we learned to dance… What an
amazing experience we had. WE was into me and I into him, although we knew nothing, that didn’t matter to him,
he just wanted to learn with me, lead me as his partner. FOR THE MEMORIES. A dream of mine to feel like I saw
my parents look so many times, shutting out the rest of the world and losing them in each others arms!
AWESOME…. Devy has really made this trip something. The dancing was over, and ice cream, laundry pick up
and a chance to meet his new friend Dante. He was a real doctor, someone who really cared for those he touched. So
very refreshing to see. We returned and enjoyed each other and off to sleep.
GREAT DAY! Good night.
December 31, 2010
5:30 wake up was not needed as we wanted to see the sun come up in Patagonia. We did in fact as we both woke up at
5:15 ready to start the best day of the year. So excited.
Coffee, a time outside with the sunrise, a little scrabble, a prayer, shower, packed, some emails and we were off! Now
on the bus. Plan today is bus ride to airport, short flight to Ushuaia, boat ride in the beagle channel and a new years
eve dinner. I can’t wait for all of it!
And Ushuaia did not disappoint! Today wasn’t what we had expected, but it was a day to remember! Our flight was
delayed so we rushed to the catamaran and boarded. They warned us to wear warm clothes… I quickly realized not to
stay downstairs-inside as it appeared to be group chaos. I put on all of my warm stuff, borrowed a hat from Joe and
went up top into the air. It was apparently usual Ushuaia weather; cold, windy and rainy. BRING IT! The ride took
us by the Lighthouse at the End of the World, sea lions, penguins, and many other birds in the Beagle Channel. A
highly used Channel that connects the Pacific to the Atlantic… think about that… Other than the Panama Canal,
you can’t to that from anywhere I have ever contemplated going. And now we are at the tip tip tip of South America..
The Mountains on one side are owned by Chilie and the other are Argentina defined by the way the water flows.
Either East to West or West to East. Up North the Andes Mountains are the border.. Part of what makes Patagonia
unique is that the whole area is contrast to the border rules of the rest of the country in that the Andes are not the
border. Anyway, lesson over, we cruised around on the catamaran for about 3
hours in rough seas.
It was cool.
Ready to check out the town, we walked up to the hotel (very nice place) to get
ready for a little sight seeing and New Years Dinner. Most places had closed,
but the little souvenir shops were open. We saw many interesting restaurants,
and were curious where we would end up… Excited for the dinner. Dinner was
at 9 so we waited in the hotel to leave. This time, we had an interesting
evening coming… We walked down the street, and were treated to the likes of
a Chinese/Seafood “buffet”… IT
WAS LAME!!!! First time this trip
we were disappointed. It seemed as if all of the other restaurants were closed
or booked when he tried to reserve. Ah, who cares, we have yet to have a mediocre
meal… We toasted with the group and bailed. We found a better way to
celebrate! Up to the room, we placed to chairs in front of the window at the end
of the world and looked out at the water and reflected on 2010. Perfect!
Ringing in the new year in my husband’s arms was magical. And by the
way, when it’s light until 11:30, it’s easy to stay up! The only place on
the planet, though that there were to fireworks on the shore! We heard a couple of booms but no lights, etc… You know,
it goes with the people, they are simple. Instead of blowing stuff up, they cooked outside on the barbeque for their
families and joined each other for a celebration without all of the BS. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January 1, 2011 (16 miles)
What a day! My second favorite this trip only to the climb over the pass on XMAS EVE. We rolled late as we knew
there would be hung over people. The room was hot, and I thought we were leaving earlier so I bolted downstairs in
excitement, ready for Tierra Del Fuego. Didn’t even study it, but I knew it would be Bitchin! We boarded the bus and
drove 20 minutes into the part, passing the town on our right and the Channel to our left. Once in the park, we saw
the southern most golf course, race track, and playland in the world. Hwy 3 was what we came in on into the park.
3080 kilometers long from Buenas Ares, it stops here. IT”S A DIRT ROAD!!!
The trail we ran on crosses it. Unreal. The trail was AWESOME, just like home
with roots and soft dirt, trees and vegetation everywhere. LOVED it! I took the
lead so I could roll my own pace, and just cruised. When we got to the top, we took
photos and headed back down. We were told we were running along the water, but
we never expected what we were treated to! OH MY GOSH! The calm sea, the
warm sun, the beach, the trees, the trails, the company, the temperature, the
animals, the, the, the!!!! Then out of the forest we came to the BRIDGE AT THE
I darted for it. I had seen it on some show and was so excited to finally find it.
We snapped photos and I marveled at it for a while, and off we went. Joe was on
a photo mission to get a rave run shot for runners world magazine… funny! We
rolled together with Allen for about 5 miles and then my foot was giving
me some crap so I took off to either make it really hurt or go away. It
disappeared for a while and I had so much fun, running like myself, not even
remotely being careful. We met at the junction and now onto run to the end of
Didn’t even know what it was until yesterday, but hell, who else has ever been to the
end of the last hwy in South America. When we arrived, more pictures, a celebratory
cinnamon bear and we turned back in the sun… The locals say they have never seen
a day this nice. It was 80 degrees! WOW. God really wanted us to get the most of
this trip! We arrived at the cafeteria for lunch and again, yum. Good spaghetti, soda
and as per usual we were the last runners in, out playing like kids. Then we sat in
the sun and baked on the 1st of January! Onto the bus and heading out, they told us
they would now drive us to the end of route 3,,,, bah humbug, they should’ve had to
earn it! We sat by the water until they got their fill of the bridge and back on the bus
we went. Arriving at the hotel we enjoyed each other as post epic run celebrations are tradition.
Now showered and changed, we went out on the town for the evening, vowing not to eat at the same place although
Devy said that was all that was open. We walked down, finding a gift or two, coffee and then a wonderful place to eat
dinner. I had a steak sandwich with egg, bacon, peppers, cheese. We shared a spinach salad,,, oh was I craving
spinach! Joe had pesto pasta. He had a coke and I had two top shelf bitchin margaritas (1st one this trip as there isn’t
any tequila down here because it is imported from Mexico), and he had an espresso. 55 US dollars! Wow! We talked
for 2 hours, and just enjoyed each other. We had the time of our lives! Now ice cream (and they do that right too!) to
go this time to take back to the room. We chowed it by the window, played a little Scrabble and off to bed. Departure
was at 9:30 am. Yes, we were gonna run in the am! For sure. A magical sunset, and off to bed. (by the way it was
after midnight again!)
Good night.
January 2, 2011 (4.5 miles)
Woke up ready for air (they really need air conditioning in a place that only gets sun a few times a year ☺). I rolled
out of bed, got us coffee, batted my eyes a bit to try to insist that I had a running partner. He is so good to me. We
strolled the industrial area taking photos of the life here in the morning air. NICE. We saw a cruise ship and
imagined the rat cage that would be if we were on it! Now off to the airport to stay the last night in the city with the
biggest street in the world! We arrived after a quick 3 hour flight to the big city. And big it was! Complete with
huge slum areas, millions of people and BIG ATTITUDES! What a change. We were warned of robbery and other
crimes and to be very careful of our possessions. We walked the streets in the muggy weather for a while and headed
to the hotel.. it was an expensive hotel because of its location, but although old and beautiful, the workers were rude, the
rooms were unbelievably hot (no ac in ours) and the place was cramped! It goes with the rest. We showered and
headed to town for the tango show, although, we were not in the best of spirits from the noisy city. Oh I almost forgot,
we went to get Joe a bite to eat, and he was served one of the weirdest sandwiches I have ever seen. Huge bread, although
thin, meat and 3 rounds of cheese that were about 1 inch thick! Not to mention, the rudest waiter we have had.
Arrogant just like the other people we have encountered so far. Joe spoke Spanish to him, and he pretended not to
understand him, just to be a prick! We paid for the sandwich after finally getting his attention and left. Wow
Okay, now the show. We boarded the bus, and drove into the city, deep in the city to the show. We waited out front
and noticed Starbucks up in the mall above. We checked it out and found our menu of coffee. I have enjoyed the
coffee of Argentina, although different, so believe it or not, I wasn’t dying for the green and white cup. Besides, there
were about 50 people in line who were… SO SICK OF CROWDS!!! We entered the Tango house and sat right in the
middle.. Perfect seats. We were immediately served water, wine and coffee and soon to come a wonderful salad, steak
and sundried tomatoes. Very good. Shortly thereafter, I went
to the restroom and came back to a snifter of Havana Rum.
Joe had bought it for me as he told me it was the best rum on
the planet. It was very good, but I am not a straight alcohol
person… I drank most of it, and was happy I tried it, as I
have never had a quality drink straight. The show took
forever to start, but we were yaking with the group and
weren’t too bothered. Once it did, it was awesome. So many
young people dancing with their hearts and loving what
they do. We were enthralled. Then the magic came out-a
couple around 70 came out and showed the young bucks
how to Tango for real! Loved it. So glad we paid to do this show! The show ended around midnight and we loaded on
the bus and went back to our hot box… No joke, our room was probably 85 degrees.! And stuffy. We weren’t giving
up our time together, although the shitty town, motel and bad attitudes tried to get us, no way! To bed around 1:30 I
would say.
Good night.
January 3, 2011 (3 miles)
Actually slept in that heat, amazing! 8am we woke up. Packed and down to the breakfast table. I got us coffee from
the coffee shop across the street preparing for a day of tour bussing. We loaded and were ready. The tour was good, we
visited the cathedral, the business district and the old shopping area.
We walked around a bit, and “shopped” with the street vendors
and the 100s of places with stuff in it. Okay, let’s roll, enough of
this… So sorry I had such a poor attitude, but I am just not cut out for disgustingly dirty, crowded places filled with stupid stuff to buy and people trying to hand you things every 5 minutes! I did learn the most amazing fact
yet though. In Buenas Aires, if you fall in the water at the port or anyplace else in the river for that matter, you will
die in a matter of 5 minutes it is so polluted. Unreal. Why would anyone…shut up Shawna, and quit bitchin! Ok.
We saw the huge multi acre park in the middle of the richer part of town, and for the first time, I was okay with
getting out of the bus if I had to! Then to the cemetery in the city (3rd most “popular” cemetery in the world with
crypts and huge dead people shrines. We had seen one in Punta Arenas so we didn’t need to stay. We went and got
coffee and walked around ourselves. We again were ready to go, but in better spirits after coffee.
Lunch was also a disappointment. We went to a place that Joe mentioned his mom had come to years ago called
Gattos (cats in Spanish). No, we didn’t eat them, but the pasta was just as bad.. We saw pizza that was awesome,
and other plates that looked great, however, ours was salty, boring, yuk! Again a limited menu for a big group.
After being with a big group, I understand the method of madness to the limited menus now, but I have never liked
being told what to eat.. VERY SMALL COMPLAINT! I left and went out on my own to play. I went down the main
drag for a run.. What a huge street, but I found some shade, a big sidewalk and normal city people. Nobody cared
that I was there, and they were just doing their thing. This is what I expected, not the rudeness we found earlier. I
needed that! Just 3 or so miles in the sun to clear up my grump ass! The rest is your typical airport stuff, and now I
write my journal on the beginning of what will be a very long plane ride to LA with a 2 hour layover in Peru. Oh
well, now I can say I have been to Peru! The flight from Argentina to Peru was short in comparison to the next one. I
watched the facebook movie and it seemed it was over and we landed. The 2 hour layover wasn’t bad and we were in
the air again. We both fell asleep for 4-5 hours on the plane… NICE! When we woke up, I watched Wall Street and
didn’t even finish it and we were on the ground. Joe was feelin the flight this time and wanted off bad! We arrived in
California with a 5 hour layover from LA. This was now starting to get old. I realized I had officially lost my cel
phone and it got to me for a bit, and the fact I was tired and ready for coffee only to find out the LA airport only has
services in the international terminal before you go through the bag drop. Well, they would only take bags 4 hours
in advance, so we had to go back to the foreign speaking world for a bit. I had had it! I know, quit bitchin..! So I did,
and we played Scrabble and kept occupied until the flight. We ate, got Starbucks and are now flying to Seattle.
Only one more plane after this! Thank God! Actually, believe it or not, it’s not that bad. Scary, especially for me. I
just had such a great time, and have really mellowed a bit during this trip, and I hope I can continue that to a point.
Joe and I had a nice talk about the future, finances and stuff, making sure we can do this stuff later too. That is so
important, and we have yet to try to save for ourselves. I am excited. Well, I am going to close as the trip is doing the
same. We had such a great time! I will never forget this last month of my life. I am the luckiest daughter, wife and
co-worker/boss in the world… I know that to my core. Thank you God, mom and dad, the SpeedMart crew, and most
of all my husband for the most magical, interesting, exhilarating, liberating 3 weeks of my life….
Good night! (from my own bed!)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The topic for the last month or two surrounds the word determination, although not in the sense that I thought it would. The sport I love called running has sure become a great metaphor for how life is today....

As the time went on and the desire to go longer distance evolved, different races became appealing. One day while feeling motivated, I agreed to sign up for the 100k at Dizzy Daze. 62 miles aroung Green Lake in Seattle. Knowing full well I had not run more than 31 miles in one shot and not more than 56 miles in a weekend, it still looked doable. Soon I realized that I would be doing 3 ultras in 3 weeks, and BIG ones too! That is the way that feels good though, to make the most out of every weekend when the time is your own, so that we did.

I am blessed to have a man in my life that is full of passion to make the best out of a day as well, so off to Way Too Cool we went! This would be the first chance at experiencing the biggest ultra in the country. 560 runners, and good ones too!

Just before Way Too Cool, the Ultrarunning 2008 review came out and I couldn't put it down! All of the fast times from the races around the country from 24 hours to 50k races were right there on paper. Wow, how fun is that? BUT, it turned on the competitor in me and made me realize that I do love to compete, and be the absoute best I can. It is in my blood and certainly in my spirit. During this point, however some sort of ill was going through my body and sucked the life right out of my muscles, especially in my much needed legs... So even though I toed the line intending to attack this race and see how I measure up to some very fast runners, my body didn't respond with the same intensity. I even found myself walking a bit at 3 or 4 miles in! But, the race went well and we had an awesome time. I will remember forever coming out of the woods and seeing the arch at what I thought was the finish and having still 1.3 miles to go! The worst part is I knew the course from reading the description so I knew there was an aid station right at the end, but when I heard the music and people, I was stoked to be DONE! OOPS... Determination-you bet.

Next came Chuckanut. This event is in my home town, only 20 minutes away. The race is huge, and lots of who's who from the Northwest run this race. I was thinking about not even running it, as my body just felt lifeless, sore, and all around punky. The night before was my 37th birthday, and we celbrated with a great dinner in Anacortes. That morning, I was still on the fence about running the race, as I just did not feel right, and the night before took it out of me fighting mental and physical drama. Something told me that morning, that I could fight it out, so I picked up my number and entered the race. Miraculously, my body somehow overcame the contamination inside just before the start and I started feeling GREAT! The sun was out, the air was crisp, and I was now destined to have a great day. Finished 2nd after going out 7th or 8th and had a fantastic time! Determination-Yep.

On to Dizzy... Joe found a way to make it to run with me on my first long run, and I was so thankful. We woke up to awful weather, but it didn't even matter, I was really excited about the challenge of the long miles. Round and round we went, slogging through rain, wind, and cold. As most people know, I hate the rain, and really hate to be cold. However, today, it didn't matter, I really wanted 50+ miles. On the 16th lap, we came to the conclusion that the weather had done us in and we couldn't bear the thought of the most generous volunteers sitting in the cold any longer while we went in circles for another 1 1/2 hours. We happily hung it up at 51.2 miles knowing full well I could've done 100k no problem. Satisfaction-absolutely. Determination-yes sir.

The next day, we chose to loosen up with a few miles on a railroad grade in Sedro Woolley. Joe had just asked me how my legs were. I had just finished responding that they were good, I happily felt just fine after my first 50+ mile day ever. It wasn't 5 minutes later, we saw a lady walking with 2 prosthetics down the trail.... Hmmm, changes the perspective of sore legs huh? Wow.... It was right then that the meaning of determination came apparent. Not surprisingly, when we stopped to chat with her we found out she was a marathoner in the past. That is what this sport we choose teaches us-to push through the tough stuff-to know that the wall is temporary-to acheive what we think we can't-to do more than others say we can-to NEVER set limits based on assumptions-and to get back up no matter how far we fall. THAT IS DETERMINATION.
Life's challenges give us an option to accept or deny them. Acceptance is the first step. The second step is the hardest-push through them no matter what-succeed anyway.


Thursday, March 12, 2009


I often find quotes that either inspire me or are written in such a way that I feel impelled to save them. I found this one recently:
I remember after a particular run feeling so immensly satisfied, cleansed
and whole. It was as if I'd been somewhere else. I'd visited a boundless, timeless world where movement was so effortless, it seemed I could run forever.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


What a thrill it has been to be surrounded by a group of people with such a positive outlook on life. This weekend I had the opportunity to run with Micheal, Steve, Alvin, Eric, Allison, Owen, Charlie, Linda, Arthur, and a couple of athletic running K-9's on Saturday at Tiger Mountain and my friend and confidant Rob Jacobsen at the Birch Bay Marathon on Sunday. In the 8 1/2 hours we were out "playing" and the 3 1/2 hours we were dodging cars at Birch Bay (while still having a blast no less) we all talked about everything from the world's successes-problems, races coming up-races past, our dreams-mistakes, friends-foes, and everything else in between depending on the moment. But what struck me in all of the conversation is it was always stated in the postive or hopeful. What a joy! We meet so many folks in our daily life that do not seem to want to be happy, do not want to enjoy the world we live in and naturally, if we are not careful, we get caught up. I can say for myself, it's not worth it and I feel proud to be associated with such great people as we are in the running (especially ultrarunning) community. You all have changed my life and given me a new outlook.... THANK YOU.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Ever been in the "place" where nothing seems to flow the way it should? Small things seem to bring big consequences, when all of life's positive anchors don't bring you out of your funk? Your favorite song fades off into the distance of your hearing and the sunrise isn't as welcome as normal. One of our biggest challenges seems to be our own head. We conclude that we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around us. We must control, fix, change and manipulate every situation we come in contact with. Those are the hardest times to get a real grip on life, and the most satisfying when you are able to put your hands up, ask for help and relinquish control. It is only then that your pulse goes down, your spirits tend to lift, and you can finally take a breath. This is new for me. I have never been one not to control every situation I come in contact with. Not every situation can be a win or lose. All instances are not battles. One does not have to have a hand in changing everything. I have come to learn what I was raised to believe and chose many times to ignore because of its simplicity; the life lived by the Serenity Prayer. I have had this prayer in my head for as long as I can remember, I just chose to ignore the first line. In doing this I read it to mean that I must pick my battles. By picking my battles I could choose them, focus on them, and win them. Simple right? Well, not so much. In living life this way, life that I predicted was easy. Working hard has never been a problem. But what about those things I did not see coming? What about change? What about hidden obstacles? What about dramatic situations (which by the way I suck at)? What if someone acted in their best interest instead of mine? Then what? My choice in the past: RUN. Build a wall around my heart so it can't hurt and I could move on. Pretty soon that wall gets higher and stronger and nothing gets in.... I will tell you, that is no way to live, no way to see the world. Feels like you must pass by everything because it isn't in your plan.

You may have wondered where this long winded rubbish was going... Well it's simply going straight to the life I have discovered that was right in front of me all along. I still forget sometimes and need brought back to reality, but those times are so much fewer and far between. I am thankful for those people (my good friends and the love of my life) who have shown me this side of consciousness.

I am also thankful for the chance to experience the ever changing sights, sounds, smells of our forest lands in which we run in. They are also an example of how life can work. You never know what is coming, you must keep your eyes up, your insticts active and your awareness hightened. Why on earth would you miss out on what is to come because you are so wrapped up in your own head? You may never get to do this again, but your head will come home with you.....